Do not use nonfat ricotta or fat-free mozzarella here. You will need a 12-inch ovensafe nonstick skillet for this recipe.” – America’s Test Kitchen. Photo credit: Keller + Keller and Carl Tremblay
3 (14.5‑ounce) cans whole peeled tomatoes
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 onion, chopped fine
Salt and pepper
3 garlic cloves, minced
¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 pound hot or sweet Italian sausage, casings removed
12 ounces (1½ cups) whole-milk ricotta cheese*
1 large egg yolk
1 teaspoon minced fresh thyme or ¼ teaspoon dried
8 ounces (2 cups) mozzarella cheese, shredded
¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
12 no-boil lasagna noodles, broken in half
3 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 375 degrees. Pulse tomatoes and their juice in food processor until coarsely ground, about 10 pulses.
Heat oil in 12‑inch oven-safe nonstick skillet over medium heat until shimmering. Add onion and ½ teaspoon salt and cook until onion is softened and lightly browned, 5 to 7 minutes. Stir in garlic and pepper flakes and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add sausage and cook, breaking up meat with wooden spoon, until no longer pink, about 5 minutes. Stir in processed tomatoes, bring to a simmer, and cook until sauce is thickened slightly, about 10 minutes; transfer to bowl.
In second bowl, combine ricotta, egg yolk, thyme, ½ teaspoon salt and ½ teaspoon pepper. Combine mozzarella and Parmesan in third bowl.
Spread ¾ cup sauce over bottom of now-empty skillet. Shingle 7 noodle halves around edge of skillet and place 1 noodle half in center. Dollop one-third of ricotta mixture over noodles, then top with one-quarter mozzarella mixture and one-third remaining sauce (in that order). Repeat layering process of noodles, ricotta mixture, mozzarella mixture and sauce twice more. Top with remaining mozzarella mixture. (Lasagna can be held at room temperature for 2 hours before baking.)
Transfer skillet to oven and bake until cheese is golden brown and lasagna is bubbling around edges, 30 to 40 minutes, rotating skillet halfway through baking. Remove skillet from oven (skillet handle will be hot). Let cool for 10 minutes, then sprinkle with basil and serve.
*Kitchen Ade note: If you’d like to try your hand at making homemade ricotta cheese, recipe follows.